Prof Dr Ahmad Saeed Bhatti and Ayesha Saeed The first Earth Day was celebrated in New York, USA, in 1970. It was meant to create awareness among the people and to evoke popular political support for environmental concerns. A few years later, according to a poll, about 22 percent of the Americans cast their votes in favour of the candidates who had made a contribution to the environment. In Agenda 21, which was passed at the Rio Earth Summit 1992, among the various issues pertaining to sustainability and development, those relating to the environment and development assumed greater significance for almost all the countries, but specifically for the developing nations because of the depletion of resources i.e. water, land and minerals, reduction in greenhouse gases, protection of forests, and conservation of biodiversity. According to Kuznets, who is a Nobel Prize laureate in Economics and Professor at the Harvard University, as a country becomes industrialised, pollution and economic inequalities tend to increase, and with it greater attention is given to welfare and environmental issues like safe drinking water and waste management - a relationship called Environmental Kuznets Curve. While the countries of the former Soviet bloc were perhaps the most polluted ones, environmental concerns like water pollution appears to be one of the most widespread problem throughout the world, which has sparked off a strong move in the public and private sectors. The success story of the joint public-private partnership in cleaning the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, USA, that went ablaze on June 22, 1969, is a significant case study. Then a unique water management partnership between the Wagga Wagga City Council and Charles Sturt University (CSU), in Australia - designated as the Global Water Smart City - can be referred to as an action plan aimed to enable smarter water use in an urban setting. With 36,000 students enrolled, the university focuses on effluent reuse and salinity management, water festivals, international seminars, exhibits and diverse educational activities. Another example of environmental awareness and responsibility was afforded by the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), USA, students for green living and career preference. Of all the freshmen interviewed, more than 35 percent voted for the environment. And to mark student enthusiasm, social awareness, and to develop a green print initiative, a campaign was undertaken to determine the university carbon footprint, to research alternate energy sources, and to coerce people into energy saving drives through car pooling, measuring university buildings for BTU fuels, water saving devices, etc., on university campus and in the community. Another example of a sustainable energy solution, being pursued by the NYIT for the last 37 years, is that they have hybrid vehicles running on the campus. In view of its sustainability, the recycling of trash for waste management has gained popularity in countries like the US, the UK, New Zealand and Japan. In a number of states in the US, it has obviated the need for land filling that is much sought after by a number of the developing countries. And of the various recycling programmes, the curbside recycling is the most preferred one. For example, in 2001, nearly 9,000 curbside recycling programmes were in operation in various states, including South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and South Dakota, in addition to the recycling done to varying degrees in 15 other states (Chiras 2006). As compared to about 50 percent of the trash in cities like Tokyo, about 90 percent of the trash - both organic and inorganic - is recycled in America. While city administrations in most of the advance countries of the world have established collection points to facilitate the approach and dumping off the of garbage, educational institutions such as colleges and universities in the United States have taken a unique initiative of offering recycling programmes with dustbins placed close to the classrooms. Meanwhile, as the environmental concerns have taken the developing countries into their fold, the necessity of implementing laws dealing exclusively with such issues are becoming increasingly obvious. However, in their absence, all attempts to alleviate poverty and seek development through agriculture, and trade and industry through WTO (ISO certification) that point towards the importance of environment - though not meant primarily for that purpose - could be thwarted. In focus this year, in Pakistan, is the urban water in four cities of the country the UN HABITAT Pakistan, which impressed upon the local clubs to improve WASH in urban schools. All endeavours to tackle the diverse environmental issues, in Pakistan, lack even capability that the educational institutions in advance countries of the world lend to community service. However, university students are now engaged publicly in programmes related to environmental concerns. It is for the first time that a university has taken the initiative of planting tree saplings in public places, which is indeed a healthy activity for the students. The Government College University, Faisalabad, has engaged its students in planting trees along the citys roads and also at the campus to alleviate the adverse effects of air pollution due to vehicular gaseous emissions. Trees like pepal, amaltas, neem and citrus, which are being planted have two merits they are local and suit our environment. Next James E. Hansen, who is the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, has recently reported that the maximum amount of CO2 that the atmosphere can hold is 350ppm and the one to which life on earth is adapted. However, being already at 390ppm and still increasing, the CO2 load in the atmosphere is above the carrying capacity of the earth. While the industrial and eastern bloc nations agreed to cut down the CO2 emission by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012 (and in fact, in the eastern bloc countries the emissions fell by 33 percent due to an economic downturn, while those in the US and developing countries increased by 12 percent and 30 percent), this calls for a barrier to the build-up of carbon [O2] in the atmosphere. More so, the impact of climate change is already contributing to greater poverty and inequality in some of the worlds poorest countries and communities. Industrialisation and carbon - [O2] intensive lifestyles in rich countries have led to increased poverty and inequality in poor countries (Pennington and Cech, 2010), which calls for efforts to secure a fair and equitable distribution of (dis)amenities and environmental justice. Pakistan ranks 12th on the list of the countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, according to a recently published index. It contributes only 135th of the worlds average of carbon dioxide emissions. The country contributes minimal chlorofluorocarbons and a few sulphur dioxide emissions, and thus makes a negligible contribution to ozone depletion. It should be of interest to note that recently the Supreme Court of Pakistan has temporarily suspended the newly imposed carbon tax saying that the government had made little effort to protect the environment through carbon tax; so it had no right to charge the people for the facility that it did not provide. n The writers are a professor and a research scholar at the GC University, Faisalabad.